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For the first time as head coach of the Columbia Claim Jumpers, Rob Hoyt saw his team score over 99 points. With under a minute to play, Columbia freshman Jordan Windley hit his fifth 3-pointer of the night, which gave the Jumpers 101 points.
But maybe more important than reaching the century mark was that the Jumpers got a win, a win in convincing fashion. Columbia snapped its two-game skid by beating the Simpson Redhawks JV 101-53 Friday night at Oak Pavilion.
Even as the numbers on the Columbia side of the scoreboard continued to move to triple digits, Hoyt was more focused on the way his players were executing and not how close they were to scoring 100.
“I didn’t necessarily look at it until the guys on the bench started talking about it when we got to around 95,” Hoyt said. “I was more concerned with our play and making sure that the guys that were in were doing their respective jobs and doing them well.”
Walking off the Oak Pavilion floor, the Jumpers showed something they hadn’t in a couple of games — excitement. With tough home losses to Butte and South Puget Sound, the Jumpers were happy to be back in the win column.
“It felt good to have things go our way,” freshman guard Tracy Hampton said. “We’ve been working hard in practice and everyone has been doing what they’ve had to do. We just were able to put everything together and fought to get the win tonight.”
On a night where Columbia reached 100 points for the first time in the Hoyt era, another milestone was nearly reached. The Jumpers knocked down 16 3-pointers and the school record is 17. Sophomore DeAndre Stallings led the way with six buckets from downtown.
It was the 3-point shot that Columbia found early. Sophomore Lewayne Grant hit a trey to open the game and was copied by Eli McLaurin, who drained a 3 from the side of the arc. Grant added to the lead with a steal and basket and two free throws.
Less than three minutes into the game, Columbia, courtesy of a 7-0 run, led 10-3.
“The biggest thing about that is that we were in control of the ball,” Hoyt said of the early scoring. “We were getting rebounds, making good passes and whoever was open and had the opportunity to score, took advantage of it.”
With 15:46 to play in the first half, Simpson cut the Jumpers lead to 10-6. That would be the last bucket it would score until the clock reached 8:33.
During Simpson’s seven minute dry spell, Columbia rattled off 21 unanswered. And the wealth was spread around. Windley scored eight, Grant four, and Eugene Harvey, Hampton and Brandon Cline each contributed for two.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the run is that Stallings only contributed the final three points.
“It would be key for us moving forward if we could sustain and maintain offense without relying on one person, whether it’s DeAndre or anyone else,” Hoyt said. “We need to get a collective effort. That’s been the theme moving forward. We collective need to win games. We don’t have a go-to guy. We have some guys who can score more than others, but it’s always gotta be a collective effort.”
Stallings may have been a small part of the run, but he did his part by pulling down rebounds. He had 10 first half boards out of Columbia’s 28 in the opening frame. Rebounding was a key to Columbia’s success.
“We are a real competitive when it comes to rebounds and that’s how we, as the rebounders on the team, hold each other up,” Harvey said. “It feels really good when everyone can get their share of rebounds and give the offense a chance to make a nice play.”
Harvey was second on the team, finishing the night with nine boards. Having a player like Harvey, who is able to come off the bench and be a rebound-hound, is something Hoyt believes will be beneficial come conference play.
“He’s never had an issue rebounding,” Hoyt said. “That’s his strength and he does that really well. Overall, he took a step in the right direction tonight. We are going to need him to really step up his game and his decision making, for us to compete at the top of our conference come January.”
Columbia had a strong 51-23 lead at halftime, but the focus was on staying sharp and not allowing Simpson back into the game.
“At halftime, we knew that we had 50, but we also knew that we still had a lot of stuff that we needed to work on, so let’s work on getting better,” Harvey said. “That was our main focal point. We weren’t trying to bust the scoreboard.”
If there was any fear about starting slow, it was alleviated with the Jumpers’ 9-0 start to begin the second half.
Hoyt subbed his players in and out, but with a roster of 10 active players, there really is no second team to focus on getting extra playing time.
“We are going to need all 10 of our guys,” Hoyt said. “The majority of games, they are all going to play. Whether they are getting the majority of the minutes or not, the minutes they get are crucial for us to have a sustained success as we move forward.”
Stallings ended the night with a game-high 25 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks. Grant scored 20 and had seven assists. Windley had 19 and McLaurin scored 10. Elan Spencer had eight points and seven rebounds. Hampton finished the night with nine points and seven assists.
Columbia (2-4) will host the Modesto Junior College Pirates at 6 p.m., today at Oak Pavilion.
“It feels good to wake up and get to do it again,” Hampton said.